Thursday, 7 August 2008

Government Spokesman Clarifies Press Reports on Closing Door for Preah Vihear Talks

Phnom Penh, August 7, 2008

AKP -- Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, spokesman for the Royal Government of Cambodia, on August 5 made a televised clarification on the National TV (TVK) on the reports by Thailand's Bangkok Post daily and some local newspapers which have said that talks with Thailand on the Preah Vihear issues have terminated.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said at the bilateral meeting in Siem Reap province between H.E. Hor Namhong, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and H.E. Tej Bunnag, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, the top representatives of the two countries' prime ministers, both sides agreed to pull troops out of that area.

This means, he underlined, we will withdraw the armed forces, because it is not good if troops stay close to each other.

This does not mean that we withdraw all our authorities from the Preah Vihear area, he said, adding that Cambodian local border authorities and temple security guards are stationed there as before.

"But, what is important is that the two government representatives have already demonstrated their goodwill in settling the border issues through peaceful means, he pointed out, adding: "There still remain more details to be resolved, that is, we cannot stop our talks."

"A memorandum of understanding in 2000 has determined the preparation of border delimitation between the two countries in detail and with precision. So, there is no need for the two governments to have talks further," he said

It was not necessary, he further said, but if it was necessary and urgent, we could meet any time. However, as we have already determined the border, it does not seem necessary for the two prime ministers' representatives to meet again while we are in the process of forming a government.

"We would like to leave the time to properly process the formation of a new government, but it does not mean that we have completely closed the door of negotiations," Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said.

TVK reports that the Thai army have invaded Cambodia's Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda since July15, 2008. The pagoda is located close to the Preah Vihear Temple. After the talks in Siem Reap province on July 28 between the two countries' government representatives, the military standoff and tension between Cambodia and Thailand at the Preah Vihear area have lessened and would lead to the respective withdrawal of troops.

The invasion by Thai troops in the area took place after the UNESCO registered the Prasat Preah Vihear of Cambodia as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008 at the 32nd UNESCO Conference in Canada.

(By Mr. Ravuth M.)

PM Welcomes France’s Presence in Peaceful Negotiation on Border Dispute

Phnom Penh, August 7, 2008

AKP -- “We welcome France to coordinate in the peaceful discussion between Cambodia and Thailand on border dispute,” Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said during his first public speech in Kampong Speu province on August 6, after the national election last month.

France is a key coordinator in solving Cambodian-Thai border dispute, because France is the country that signed a treaty on border with Thailand in 1904 and 1907 and led to the plantation of border demarcation posts in 1908. And this issue happened because of the map, so we would like to welcome France to coordinate in this dispute, he said.

His reaction was made following an information over Thai Foreign Minister’s proposition to have France as coordinator on this issue.

He also welcomed the request of the ex-Thai Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai and the Thai Opposition Party Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to solve the border dispute between the two countries in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in 2000.

The problem in Preah Vihear was also provoked by the extremists of the two countries, said the Cambodian premier.

“Thai extremists used the Preah Vihear problem to topple the Thai government while Cambodian extremists used the same issue to decrease the popularity of the Cambodian People’s Party,” underlined Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

“If I was not Prime Minister, the war between Cambodia and Thailand would erupt since July 15, when around a hundred of Thai troops encroached on Cambodian territory, in the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda, about 300 meters from the Preah Vihear Temple,” he said.

“To wage war is easy, just 2 minutes it would happen, but when would it finish? Who would suffer? How many Cambodian and Thai people would die?” he asked.

According to the Cambodian leader, another new round of meeting between both countries’ foreign ministers is scheduled on August 18 at Hua Hin, Thailand.

(By Mr. KHAN Sophirom)

PM: Funcinpec Is Still a Partner in the Upcoming Coalition Government

Phnom Penh, August 7, 2008 AKP --

Prime Minister Hun Sen has affirmed that Funcinpec is still a partner in the upcoming coalition government.

The Cambodian prime minister said this, while visiting Samrong Tong district, Kampong Speu province, on August 6.

Speaking to the audience after joining the rice cropping work with the villagers in the district, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a formula for forming the upcoming new government, appointing Funcinpec Secretary-General Nhiek Bunchay at the post of deputy prime minister and Funcinpec Minister of Education Kol Pheng, Minister of Culture Veng Sereyvuth, Minister of Public Works Sun Chanthol and Minister of Health Nuth Sokhom at the post of senior ministers.

He also called on all Cambodians, either holding any political parties, to consolidate and avoid turning the election into the national division, hoping the countrymen had a sense of forgiveness and unification.

According to unofficial results, the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) won 90 seats of the total 123 NA seats, while Funcinpec got only two. --AKP

(By Mr. THOU Peou)

Twenty Eight National and International Organizations Join to Find Strategies to Organize a Long-Term Education Campaign

Posted on 7 August 2008
The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 572

“Phnom Penh: Twenty eight national and international organizations in Cambodia met on Tuesday [5 August 2008] at the Imperial Hotel, all from the field of education, coming together to find strategies to create a long-term campaign to strengthen education for the period from 2009 to 2011, to promote the right to education for everyone. During this discussion, target teams were formed to go directly to apply what they have learned at the targeted basis with the relevant authorities and with citizens at the basis, so that they understand the problems related to the right to education.

“The Coordinator of the Global Campaign for Education, Mr. Un Bunphoeun, who had taken the initiative to organize this workshop on strategies for an education campaign for 2009 to 2011, said that this workshop, with participation by twenty eight organizations, aims to discuss the creation of a long-term educational strategic plan. It is a strategic plan to help children in all provinces and cities to receive such a plan on the right to education for all. Mr. Un Bunphoeun said that this educational strategic plan has to be created with the participation of non-government organizations, relevant ministries and institutions, and target groups at the basis.

He explained that after finishing this whole day of discussions at the workshop, working teams will be assigned to the provinces and cities to engage in teaching at communities, schools, or other places, so that the plans have to be created with the participation of citizens, students, teachers, and local authorities at the basis, so that they understand the value of education in advance, and also the problems related to the educational systems, such as registration at schools, quality of education, and the right to education - so that all understand and participate.

“Dr. Sam Sidet, a representative of UNESCO, participating in this workshop, said that he hopes, after finishing this whole day discussion, that working teams will set real goals to process the 2009 to 2011 educational activities successfully, and to spread among the citizens in general the understanding of the right to education for their children.

“Ms. Janneke, a Dutch advisor to the Global Campaign for Education, said that this workshop is an effort to contribute to the educational strategies to organize an effective campaign for education for all in Cambodia, for the coming period of three yeas.

“Mr. Rong Chhun, the president of the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association, said yesterday, ‘I welcome organizations that discuss to find strategies for this there-year period of education - this is positive, and it responds to the policies of international educational organizations as well as to the plans of the Ministry of Education up to 2015, which aims that all Khmer children can receive education by that year; at least, they can finish basic education including Grade 9.’ He went on to say, ‘For the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association this is very important, in order that all Khmer children have access to education, that the government has to convince parents, students, and especially the local authorities, to participate actively, so that they understand the value of education; and specifically, the government should promote the teachers’ livelihood by providing them with appropriate salaries.’”

Khmer Sthapana, Vol.1, #66, 6.8.2008
Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:Wednesday, 6 August 2008

UN reviews funds for genocide tribunal

The Sydney Morning Herald
August 7, 2008

Cambodia's UN-backed genocide tribunal is facing new kickback allegations, prompting international donors to withhold at least $US300,000 ($A330,000) from the cash-strapped court.

The UN Development Program (UNDP), which oversees the finances of the Cambodian side of the court, said in an email to AFP that the new allegations arose in late June.

"UNDP is aware of new allegations of kickbacks on the Cambodian side of the court," the email said.

The agency said it was withholding funding for July, which includes operating expenses and salaries for Cambodian staff members, but it did not reveal the amount.

"UNDP is reviewing the implications with its donors so we can collectively agree how to move forward following the allegations," it added.

Helen Jarvis, spokeswoman for the tribunal, declined to comment on the allegations but confirmed that $US300,000 ($A330,000) in July salary for Cambodian staff had not been paid yet.

"We are hoping and expecting that the situation will soon be resolved. Of course both national and international staff deserve to be paid for their work," Jarvis said.

The new corruption allegations emerge as the court is preparing for its first trial, set to begin in September with proceedings against Kaing Guek Eav, also know as "Duch", who ran a notorious torture centre in Phnom Penh.

International backers have appeared hesitant to pledge more money to the court after allegations of political interference and mismanagement, including claims that Cambodian staff paid kickbacks in exchange for their jobs.

But court officials have said last year's allegations were "unspecific, unsourced and unsubstantiated".

The tribunal, which opened in 2006 after nearly a decade of wrangling between the United Nations and Cambodia, was originally budgeted at $US56.3 million ($A61.9 million) over three years.

If trials of the five Khmer Rouge officials currently detained go on longer than expected or if more people are prosecuted, court officials said the budget could swell to $US105 million ($A115.5 million), with cases running to December 2010.

Up to two million people died of starvation, overwork and execution as the communist Khmer Rouge dismantled modern Cambodian society in a bid to forge an agrarian utopia during its 1975-1979 rule.

Sacravatoons : " Bangkok Dharma "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

re : Khmer Navy RU 2008

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Sacravatoons : " Lucky-Cambodians "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Hun Sen settles his score

Cambodge Soir

The Prime Minister’s first visit to the provinces since the elections has given him the opportunity to criticise his opponents.

Hun Sen regains his little habits: his trips to the provinces, being propitious for his monologues. Wednesday morning in Kampong Speu; he took the occasion to bring up the subject of next government, “slightly larger” than the previous one and of the alliance with Funcinpec. He confirmed that, within his new team, a Deputy Prime Minister’s position will be given to Nhiek Buncchay, General Secretary of the royalist party. Four other leaders of the political party will obtain portfolios. Kol Pheng, current Minister of Education, Veng Serewuth, current Minister of Culture, Sun Chanthol, current Minister for Public Transport and Nuth Sokhom, current Minister of Health will indeed assume positions of Secretary of State.

After revealing those details, Hun Sen attacked Kéo Puth Rasmey, President of Funcinpec. What he did wrong? Together with others, he signed a letter of coalition with the SRP, the HRP and the NRP, the day after the elections. Consequently he doesn’t obtain any position, not even an Ambassador’s title. “Neither him nor his wife have the necessary international knowledge to assume this position”, did he say ironically.

The Head of the Government didn’t spare Sam Rainsy either. Mentioning his altercation from last Friday with the head of the opposition, Hun Sen revealed that the head of the SRP requested him to ensure positions of President and Vice President of the Commission to the National Assembly. “Why is he asking for this while at the same time he challenges the validity of the elections? “, said an angry Prime Minister. The Vice President of the CPP proclaimed that Norodom Ranariddh should serve two thirds of his sentence. The head of the NRP was condemned to a prison sentence of 18 months and a fine of 150,000 dollars in a case of breach of trust concerning public property. All his appeals ran out. Currently in exile in Malaysia, Norodom Ranariddh is, according to Hun Sen, trying to approach him in order to request a royal pardon. This move clearly leaves the government leader indifferent.

Thai soldiers are withdrawing from Ta Moan Thom

Cambodge Soir

Cambodian military sources reveal that Thai soldiers withdrew from the Ta Moan Thom temple, at 3pm on Tuesday 5th of August. The situation evolves positively in Preah Vihear as well.

70 Thai military troops just moved back 300 metres and thus stopped occupying the temple in Oddar Meanchey province. This news comes from Sim Sokha, border protection unit deputy commander, contacted by Cambodge Soir Hebdo. The stand off follows a meeting which was held this morning between delegations of Thai and Cambodian officials on the Thai side of the site. “The Bangkok based soldiers have assumed their original positions, on their own territory”, says Sim Sokha. The officer explains that the Khmer military promised not to take advantage of this situation in order to invade the temple. This good news comes parallel with other important information revealed at the end of this afternoon.

According to the Bangkok Post, today the cabinet of the Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has confirmed the withdrawal of troops from Preah Vihear, but without giving precise dates or the number of soldiers. Quoted by the English newspaper, a Thai officer states that the officials of both Kingdoms allegedly agreed to meet between the 18th and the 19th of August in the Thai seaside town of Hua Hin. If confirmed, this information would contradict recent comments made by Khieu Kanharith, who said that the negotiations concerning Preah Vihear would only be resumed after the formation of the new Cambodian government. The news concerning this withdrawal confirms thus the conclusions from the conciliatory meeting in Siem Reap on the 28th of July. A meeting after which a decision from the Thai government was still pending. Now it became fact!

The National Assembly to be turned into a CPP Assembly

Sam Rainsy's Letter to the Editor published in the Cambodia Daily, August 5, 2008


In "Sam Rainsy Admonished Over Boycott Threat" (August 4, page 44), Prime Minister Hun Sen was quoted as saying to me, "If you do not participate in the [lawmaker] swearing-in ceremony, the seats [won by the SRP and other opposition parties] will be divided among others [meaning the CPP and possibly Funcinpec]."

Your analysis of the Election Law, especially article 118, and different points of view expressed in your report, show that there is no legal ground to strip the opposition of "their 31 projected seats" (in fact the final figures could be markedly higher based on the resolution of election complaints).

What's more, the new Assembly can not even validly convene without participation from the opposition.

Article 76 of the Constitution states, "The National Assembly consists of at least 120 members."
At its first meeting after any legislative elections, the Assembly has to first proclaim the validity of all its members' mandate. Therefore, without at least 120 members-elect being present at its first meeting, how can the Assembly have the power to make any valid decision including the decision to proclaim the validity of all its members? Because the Constitution is the country's supreme law, no provisions from any other laws can supercede the above article 76.

The National Assembly represents the whole nation. It cannot be turned into a CCP Assembly. Let's imagine the unimaginable case where the SRP, the HRP and the NRP altogether would willingly and officially abandon "their 31 projected seats".

According to article 118 of the Election Law, those 31 seats would be divided among the other parties represented at the Assembly on the basis of the number of seats and votes they received for each province.

On the basis of figures provided by the CPP itself and consistent with our system of proportional representation combined with a very specific formula for seat allocation, the CPP would collect all the 31 seats previously allocated to the opposition. We would then have a 123-member "National" Assembly with the following composition: 121 seats (98.37 percent) for the CPP and two seats for its very docile ally, Funcinpec.

Hun Sen was also quoted as declaring that the opposition would not "fulfill [their] obligation [to the 2 million citizens who voted for them] at the Assembly" if they boycott the swearing-in ceremony.

The situation is actually just the opposite of what Hun Sen claimed.

We would be betraying the will of those who have placed their confidence in us if we accept the results of the elections without ensuring that our two fundamental demands are met (*):

1) The National Election Committee and the Constitutional Council, both of them known to be strongly influenced by the CPP, must properly resolve our election complaints under the scrutiny of independent observers.

2) The new Assembly, even though possibly dominated by the CPP in terms of seats, must be allowed to play a key role in an effective system of checks and balances to be put in place.

As in any true democracy, the rights of the minority must be recognized and respected. In all the world's parliamentary democracies, the opposition fulfills a crucial function in Parliament where a number of key positions are traditionally allocated to them, a fact that Hun Sen has apparently not grasped.

Sam Rainsy
SRP President

(*) Our demands are all the more legitimate given the fact that, according to the European Union Election Observation Mission, the July 27, 2008 polls "fell short of key international standards" and might have seriously distorted the will of the Cambodian people.
EU statement at

Cambodia stresses amiable solution with Thailand

New Sabah Times
7th August, 2008

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s prime minister reiterated his call for a peaceful solution to a border dispute with Thailand, warning Wednesday that both countries’ economies would suffer if the conflict erupts into a full-scale war.

In his first public speech since winning national elections last month, Prime Minister Hun Sen said both countries must “narrow the conflict and expand friendship and cooperation.”

Thai and Cambodian troops have been facing off along their shared border for three weeks over disputed territory—first near Preah Vihear temple and then at Ta Moan Thom temple.

Hun Sen’s comments came as the confrontation at Ta Moan Thom appeared to be easing, with both sides pulling back their soldiers.

“We cannot just carve out Thailand to put in the sky or move our land away,” Hun Sen said in a two-hour speech Wednesday. “We will coexist for tens of thousands of years to come.”

He also criticized leaflets calling for a Cambodian boycott of Thai goods in response to Thailand’s alleged encroachment onto Cambodian territory near Preah Vihear.

“A border dispute should not turn the two countries into enemies in all domains,” he said. “That is very dangerous.”

He said he was not being “soft,” but warned that if war broke out “the two countries will only stand to lose” in terms of trade and economic cooperation.

The dispute surrounding the 13th century Ta Moan Thom temple started when Cambodian officials said some 70 Thai soldiers occupied the temple site last week and prevented Cambodian troops from entering. Thai military officials countered that their troops had been in the area for years.

Agreement for a troop withdrawal from the grounds of the temple was reached late Tuesday during a meeting between officials from the two countries, said Maj. Ho Bunthy, a Cambodian army commander in the area.

Cambodia's marathon runner Hem Bunting silver medalist in the 24th Southeast Asian Games in 2007, practices for Olympic in Beijing

Cambodia's marathon runner Hem Bunting (L), silver medalist in the 24th Southeast Asian Games in 2007, practices at the National Olympic stadium in Phnom Penh in this July 12, 2008 file photo. Born to a peasant family in a remote province of northeastern Cambodia 23 years ago, Bunting is one of only four athletes representing the war-scarred Southeast Asian nation in Beijing.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodia's marathon runner Hem Bunting (L), silver medalist in the 24th Southeast Asian Games in 2007, practices at the National Olympic stadium in Phnom Penh in this July 12, 2008 file photo. Born to a peasant family in a remote province of northeastern Cambodia 23 years ago, Bunting is one of only four athletes representing the war-scarred Southeast Asian nation in Beijing.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Cambodian Hem BunTing (L) trains with 19-year-old Sou Titlinda (R) in Phnom Penh. Cambodia's Hem Bunting is certain his rivals' preparations for the Beijing Olympics marathon would have been a lot different to his. Unlike his fellow athletes, Bunting has no coach or sponsor and trains on the busy potholed streets of the impoverished nation's capital Phnom Penh. Picture taken July 12, 2008.REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea (CAMBODIA)

Overseas Direct Investment Surges 43%

The Korea Times
By Yoon Ja-young
Staff Reporter

Overseas direct investment by Korean firms and individuals for the first half of this year recorded $14.7 billion, growing 42.8 percent from a year ago. This is in contrast with foreign investors leaving Korea.

According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the growth was mostly due to overseas resources development projects and global management strategies by conglomerates. Rising global oil and other resource prices motivated firms to look for resource development projects abroad, and an increasing number of businesses are choosing to manufacture abroad following globalization and localization plans.

Korea National Oil Corporation, for example, participated in a Gulf of Mexico oil field development project with a $1.2 billion stake. Kia Motors and Kumho Tire meanwhile started facility investment overseas.

Statistics showed that conglomerates led the overseas direct investment expansion, increasing investment by 72.9 percent. Small businesses saw a 17.4 percent growth, and individuals 4.2 percent. Conglomerates took over half of the overseas investment by Korea, followed by small businesses at 35.3 percent.

By industry, direct investment by wholesale, retail and mining industries soared notably. These industries increased investment overseas by around two-fold.

By countries, the United States and Cambodia saw huge expansion of investment from Korea. Investment by Korean firms and individuals in the United States grew 102.7 percent, as Samsung C&T and Korea National Oil Corporation participated in oil field development projects.

Cambodia saw a 127.8 percent investment growth by Koreans, following GS E&C's set up of a corporation there to develop a commercial area in Phnom Penh.

The growing overseas investment by Korean firms and individuals, however, contrasts with dwindling investment in Korea by foreigners. Koreans' outbound direct investment surpassed inbound FDI by $890 million in the first half this year, the first time ever since 1980 when the government started compiling statistics.

According to the Bank of Korea, regulations and investment restriction in the service sector are hampering FDI.

Trat, Koh Kong sign MoU

The Bangkok Post
Thursday August 07, 2008


Trat signed a memorandum of understanding on trade and investment cooperation with Koh Kong and Sihanoukville in Cambodia yesterday. The MoU is the extension of an agreement reached three years ago, which succeeded in shoring up falling agricultural produce prices.

The interior and foreign ministries of both countries have approved the development of a sister cities relationship.

Yoy Seuy, deputy governor of Koh Kong province, which is opposite Trat, said bilateral trade and investment could become smoother with help from government agencies.

Koh Kong has grown rapidly with an influx of foreign investment in business, energy, tourism and construction.

Sihanoukville governor Say Hak said the province aims to become the top tourism destination in Cambodia, boasting beaches, an airport, and a deep-sea port.

Cambodian dengue cases down, but tourist hubs still at risk

M&G Health News
Aug 7, 2008

Phnom Penh - After an epidemic last year, Cambodia has reported less than half the number of cases of the potentially deadly mosquito-borne dengue fever during the same period in 2008, an official said Thursday.

Dengue Control Centre director Duong Socheat warned that the nation's main tourist hubs of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh remained amongst the highest risk areas as the country entered the peak of its monsoon season.

'For the period until August 1 this year we had some 3,800 cases compared to 10,000 cases last year, with 35 fatalities so far,' Duong Socheat told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone.

The notable decrease is due to the use of anti-larval medicine before the peak of the mosquito breeding season this year, said the health official.

'However there are places such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh which are still above average in cases, mostly because people are moving around and carry the mosquitoes and the virus with them,' he said.

At least 407 people died from dengue fever in 2007 and tens of thousands more fell ill in one of the most serious years for the virus on record throughout Asia.

Dengue is spread by the day-biting Aedes mosquito and causes symptoms including extreme fatigue and bone pain, giving it the alternative name of break bone fever.

In some cases, dengue hemorrhagic fever develops, which causes rapid loss of blood platelets and can result in death from internal bleeding without rapid treatment.

The mosquito likes to breed in clean, cool, still water, such as that which collects around building sites, making major cities in rapidly developing Cambodia prone to outbreaks of dengue.

Cambodian market a gateway to the ancient world

Tuol Tom Pong market, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh is known as one of the most crowded markets in Southeast Asia for real and fake antiques.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A trader at a market in Cambodia assures his customers they can sell a US$15,000 antique Buddha statuette, made from precious stone, in their own country for a substantial profit.

Tuol Tom Pong market at the outskirt of the country’s capital Phnom Penh is known as one of the most crowded markets in Southeast Asia for real and fake antiques.

Though open for only a few hours a day, mostly in the afternoon, the market is a popular destination for antique collectors from around the world.

An overseas Vietnamese who owns four shops at the market said antiques of all ages here, including thousand year old items, were available at the Tuol Tom Pong market.

Transnational market

Cambodians say the market was the cheapest place in the world to buy antiques.

The market on Street No. 450 has nearly 400 stalls and shops displaying all kinds of antiques from cultures and civilizations around the world.

The most popular commodities are gongs, statues of Buddha, the Hindu god Indra and Apsara nymphs from Hindu and Buddhist mythology as well as ancient weapons from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Many of the antiques were said to be from the thirteen and fourteen centuries or even between 2,000 and 2,500 years of age.

“As long as you find the proper trader, you can buy real antiques of all ages including pottery from the Vietnam’s Ly and Tran dynasties in the 11th to 15th centuries, tea sets from China’s Zhou Dynasty (1122 BC to 256 BC) or Bayon statues from the Angkor Monarchy in Cambodia,” one trader at the market said.

Another trader, Sam Chi, said dozens of Vietnamese antique collectors bought from his shop every week.

Chi said he sold a set of tea cups from Vietnam’s Ly Dynasty (1009-1225) for $20,000 just few days earlier to a collector from Ho Chi Minh City.

“If you want to collect a unique antique from any age, just tell me about two weeks in advance,” he said.

“The traders here have links with transnational antique traders. Most of the antiques sold in Asia flow through this market.”

A Vietnamese who has many shops at the market said most of the underground trade at the market was operated by Vietnamese, with many antiques from Ho Chi Minh City’s “antique street,” Le Cong Kieu.

Fake versus real

Visitors to the market are advised to carefully check products before buying because fake and real items are sold side by side.

The quality of some fakes is so high, sometimes even experts are fooled.

One visitor said a trader had shown him a carving of an Apsara nymph from the eleventh century for $1,200.

However, an expert accompanying him said it was a fake that was worth less than $100.

He also said he overheard a story from two giggling traders at the market, laughing because one had sold a Buddha statue to an Australian visitor for $2,000.

The statue was made in Vietnam’s Nghe An Province and was worth only $30.

A Vietnamese antique collector, Nguyen Ngoc Quang, said he was once tricked into buying a fake Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) tea set for $20,000.

Quang said later verifications found it was an imitation from a workshop in Vietnam’s Binh Duong Province.

But he could not get his money back.

Many of the imitation antiques were made in trade villages in Vietnam, including Hanoi’s Bat Trang pottery village and villages in Binh Duong and Thanh Hoa provinces.

A trader at the market, Ho Trang, said the market had to be restocked with fakes every few weeks.

Trang said the fakes could sell for 10 times what they cost to make.

Source: Tuoi Tre

Cambodian marathoner running through poverty

Thu Aug 7, 2008

By Ek Madra

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's Hem Bunting is certain his rivals' preparations for the Beijing Olympics marathon would have been a lot different to his.

Unlike his fellow athletes, Bunting has no coach or sponsor and trains on the busy potholed streets of the impoverished nation's capital Phnom Penh.

He accepts he has to do it all by himself.

"I have been mostly training alone," Bunting told Reuters after a hazardous jog dodging potholes and motorcycles.

"I sometimes can't find a good place to practice because our national stadium is always being used by footballers.

"I've been doing this four years, but I do it because I love to run," added Bunting, whose best time is 24 minutes shy of the marathon world record.

Born to a peasant family in a remote province of northeastern Cambodia 23 years ago, Bunting is one of only four athletes representing the war-scarred Southeast Asian nation in Beijing.

He lives off just $30 a month and the $10 running shoes which helped him win two Southeast Asian Games medals last year have seen better days.

"I think the one that costs $200 would be more suitable for an Olympic marathon," added Bunting, who said his energetic puppy sometimes joins him on his otherwise lonely runs.

"I have no money, what can I do?"

Cambodia has never won an Olympic medal and its greatest sporting success came in 1970 when its athletes won two silvers and three bronzes at the Asian Games in Bangkok.

A brutal civil war and a subsequent Olympic ban ensured there were no more after that.

Although a generous gesture, it is unlikely long-serving Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will have to pay the $10,000 he has promised athletes for a Beijing podium finish.

Cambodia has no budget for athletes and its sports chiefs have used handouts from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure 14 officials accompany its two swimmers and two runners in the Chinese capital.

The National Olympic committee, once accused of being freeloaders by Hun Sen, believes there is little point sending a bigger team.

"The Olympics Games is 10 times tougher than even the Asian Games," Olympic committee chief Meas Sarin told Reuters.

"We really don't have a hope of winning any medals."

("Road to Beijing":; Olympics blog:

2nd batch of Cambodian Olympic delegation departs to Beijing

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The second batch of Cambodia's Olympic delegation left here on Thursday for Beijing to attend the Olympic Games, which is scheduled to open on Friday.

The batch of delegation has five members, including Tourism Minister and National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) president Thong Khon, NOCC secretary general Mea Sarun, another swimmer and two youths attending the Olympic Summer Camp.

"I am very glad to go to Beijing for the Olympics," Thong Khon told Xinhua at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

Earlier on Wednesday, the first batch of the delegation departed to Beijing, including a marathon runner, a sprinter and their coach, one swimmer and the coach, one team leader, an official and one doctor.

Cambodia first attended the Olympics in 1959, then quit for a long time due to civil war. It resumed its participation in 1996 to attend the Atlanta Olympics and later sent delegations to the Sydney Games in 2000 and the Athens Games in 2004.

Editor: Jiang Yuxia

Tej: Let army negotiate redeployment

The Bangkok Post
Wednesday August 06, 2008


Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag yesterday proposed the military be authorised to discuss with Cambodia the reduction in the number of soldiers deployed in the Preah Vihear standoff, said a source at Government House.

However, the source said Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej told the cabinet meeting yesterday he preferred the term ''redeployment'' to partial withdrawal of troops.

The source added that troop reduction was proposed to ease tensions between the countries.

In his one-page report to the cabinet, Mr Tej also suggested that the troop readjustment be made before the third week of August, when the foreign affairs ministers of the two countries are to meet again to discuss the border dispute.

He said the Thai military should maintain as many soldiers as necessary to protect Thai sovereignty and to ease tensions at Wat Keo Sikha Kiri Svara and the area around the Preah Vihear temple.

Mr Tej's report follows his meeting with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong last week in Siem Reap.

The source said Mr Samak told the cabinet that care was needed in the wording used by Thailand in suggesting the troop readjustment, so as not to further aggravate the border dispute.

He also insisted that any readjustment of troops should be carried out simultaneously by both sides.

Meanwhile, army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda maintained yesterday that the Ta Moan Thom temple is located on Thai soil and Thai soldiers have been guarding the area for years.

He said the army has urged Cambodian authorities not to send troops into the area, as it would create tensions unnecessarily and disrupt ongoing border demarcation activities.

Gen Anupong said the situation at Ta Moan Thom was under control.

He declined to comment on speculation that Cambodia tried to further complicate border conflicts with Thailand in the wake of the Preah Vihear row.

''It is a sensitive matter. I am a security officer and not in a position to criticise. But we have been trying to prevent any confrontations and to promote understanding,'' he said.

The Ta Moan Thom temple came into the spotlight after Thailand barred Cambodian troops from visiting the area last weekend.

Army deputy spokeswoman Col Sirichan Nga-thong said the presence of Thai soldiers at Ta Moan Thom is routine and operations are limited to within accepted Thai territory.

She also said army activities in the area are carried out to protect Thai sovereignty and to sustain bilateral relations between the two countries.

Children of the Khmer

Source: The List (Issue 609)
Date: 7 August 2008
Written by: Susan Wright

Cambodian song and dance

This is as inspiring as it gets. An ensemble of young talented performers from Cambodia delivering perfectly orchestrated dance routines that are soulful, funny, enthusiastic and set against a powerful musical backdrop.

It starts off on a mellow note with incense, candles, prayer and two beautiful girls performing a hypnotic routine of gracious curtsies and delicate hand movements. From there, a fuller cast of boys and girls (whose ages are impossible to ascertain on stage) entertain through jigs and dances performed skillfully with wooden blocks, bamboo baskets, catchy chants, wide smiles and a keen sense of humour.

Much of the choreography explores Cambodian tradition – planting rice in the paddy fields, wooing the opposite sex, monkey rivalry (complete with hilarious masks and body scratching). Underpinned by a beautiful percussion score that changes pace perfectly with the action, Children of the Khmer is a sweet taste of Cambodia that makes you feel good about life.

#32 - News : Border dispute - 06.08.2008

Hun Sen, the great survivor

Guess who he voted for

Asia View
Aug 6th 2008

One of the last (we hope) Asian strongmen

OLD-SCHOOL Asian strongmen have become an endangered species. The future of even Central Asia’s venerable strongman tradition has been in doubt since the death in 2006 of Turkmenistan’s Sapurmurat Niyazov, who called himself “Turkmenbashi”, the father of the Turkmen. The daddy of them all, Genghis Khan, is probably spinning in his grave at Mongolia’s turn toward namby-pamby multi-party democracy.

Indonesia’s Suharto and the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos are long gone, their countries now democracies, albeit messy ones. The top dog in Myanmar’s regime, General Than Shwe, is old, ailing and—it is said—circled by would-be successors. In other authoritarian states like China, Vietnam and Laos, the party, rather than any particular dominating individual, is in charge.

Standing firm against what one hopes is a strong tide of history is Hun Sen, Cambodia’s newly re-elected prime minister. After his sweeping victory on August 27th Mr Hun Sen looks as strong as ever, 23 years after first becoming prime minister at the age of just 33. The election was riddled with irregularities, mostly in favour of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). But he would likely have won anyway: the stability he has brought to a previously war-wracked country, though often iron-fisted, has given Cambodia one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

Furthermore, like many successful strongmen, he has the common touch, which allows him to connect with ordinary Cambodians in a way that his principal opponent, Sam Rainsy of the eponymous Sam Rainsy Party, has struggled to equal. The opening pages of “Hun Sen, Strongman of Cambodia”, a flattering 1999 biography by Harish and Julie Mehta, describe him descending by helicopter on a rural paddy-field and, after hugging some grannies and babies, showing off his skills as a rice-harvester. “I am a farmer. I am very poor. I am not like a prince,” he told admiring villagers.

Of course, he did not get where he is today by being entirely loveable. He was an officer in the army of Pol Pot’s ghastly Khmer Rouge regime, fleeing to Vietnam in 1977 to avoid being purged. He returned two years later when the Vietnamese army entered Cambodia and deposed the Khmers Rouges. He was made foreign minister in the Hanoi-installed government and then, in 1985, prime minister.

In a United Nations-backed election in 1993 that ended years of civil war, Mr Hun Sen lost and became “second prime minister” under Prince Norodom Ranariddh. This did not suit him. Four years later, amid renewed street fighting between the CPP and the prince’s royalist movement, Mr Hun Sen seized power in a coup, and had dozens of royalist officials shot.

In the three elections since then the Cambodian leader has gradually eased up on the hardball tactics, occasionally jailing or exiling critics, but also wooing opponents into the fold with promises of power. Divided and in disarray thanks to Mr Hun Sen’s manoeuvrings, the royalists’ vote collapsed in the latest election. Cambodia’s King Sihamoni, unlike his once-powerful father Sihanouk, is very much a ceremonial monarch.

So assured was he of victory, Mr Hun Sen kept a low profile in the election campaign, making few public comments. On the CPP’s posters he appeared in equal-sized portraits with Heng Samrin and Chea Sim, two party stalwarts. But neither they nor anyone else wields as much power as Mr Hun Sen. Except, that is, the prime minister’s fearsome wife, Bun Rany, whom he met when she was running a hospital for the Khmer Rouge.

Though none in the CPP would challenge him, that does not mean Mr Hun Sen is in absolute command. Last year he rebuked corrupt officials and soldiers for stealing land from peasants and city slum-dwellers, warning them: “I really don’t want bloodshed, but if you still fail to obey me, blood must flow.” The old Hun Sen, of course, might have given no warning.

Like Suharto and other Asian strongmen of old, Mr Hun Sen likes to see himself as a benign “father of development”. He has won grudging acceptance from the outside world and many Cambodians by arguing that without his tight rule the place would collapse in chaos again.
Suharto’s Indonesia demonstrated that fast growth is possible for a while even under deeply corrupt governments. But as the system grows ever more rotten, such regimes tend eventually to collapse, leaving a nasty mess.

Mr Hun Sen is said to be obsessed with Cambodia’s ancient Khmer kingdom, which built the awesome Angkor Wat complex and once ruled much of Indochina. His critics fault him for having a sense of the past but not the future. Mr Sam Rainsy says that “Hun Sen has no vision. He has a genius for one thing: political survival. This is his biggest achievement.” Some diplomats who have met the prime minister agree.

Still, Mr Hun Sen looks set to continue comfortably unchallenged for the foreseeable future. Some speculate that he plans to hand the reins of power one day to his studious, British-educated son, Hun Manet.

In the meantime, foreign governments moan about his government’s corruption, ineptitude and abuses, but he knows they are itching to spend their aid budgets and they lack the guts to turn their tough words into action. With rising Asian neighbours like China and Vietnam keen to invest in Cambodia, and Western ones like America and France keen to maintain their presence, Mr Hun Sen can cheerfully play them off against each other, while collecting goodies from all.

Kuwaitis to return to Cambodia for rice talks (Roundup)

M&G Asia-Pacific News
Aug 6, 2008

Cambodia has been exporting low-grade rice to African countries, such as Guinea, but is muscling its way toward being a major regional rice exporter.

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Saba ended a three-day visit to Cambodia Tuesday, during which he discussed swapping his country's technical assistance for arable land for cultivation of quality rice for Kuwait.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday that he would visit the Gulf states of Kuwait and Qatar in January to discuss rice exports in a bid to clinch Gulf markets.

'Those countries have oil but no rice,' Hun Sen said in a speech carried on state radio during a rice-planting ceremony about 40 kilometres south-west of Phnom Penh. 'I think the Gulf can become our rice market.'

Cambodia welcomed cash, not credit, Hun Sen said.

'We are a poor country, so when countries buy our rice they should pay, not owe money,' the premier said.

That should not be a problem for oil-rich Qatar and Kuwait, both of whose prime ministers have visited Cambodia this year.

By 2015, the Cambodian government said, it hopes to export 10 million tons of the staple per year.

Sacravatoons :" Funcinpec,My Dogs "

Courtesy of Sacravatoon at

Cambodian genocide tribunal faces allegations

The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodia's genocide tribunal has been hit by new corruption allegations, compelling foreign donors to withhold more than $300,000 from the proceedings pending a review of the claims, officials said Wednesday.

The new scandal came as the U.N.-assisted tribunal prepared for its first trial, next month, for atrocities allegedly committed during the 1975-79 rule of the Khmer Rouge, who are blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and execution.
Cambodian and U.N.-appointed staff jointly run the tribunal with two separate budget lines supported by contributions from international donors.

In a Wednesday statement to The Associated Press, the United Nations Development Program said it was withholding funding for operating expenses and salaries for Cambodian staffers at the tribunal. It did not provide an amount.

It said new kickback allegations surfaced in late June, but provided no other details.

Helen Jarvis, spokeswoman for the tribunal's Cambodian side, said she has not seen any allegations and could not comment on whether they had merit.

None of the 250 Cambodian staff members have yet received their July salaries, she said, adding that the total payroll for the national personnel is about $300,000 a month. Aside from salaries, it was unclear how much money was being withheld.

"We hope the situation will be urgently solved. Staff need to be paid and indeed deserve to be paid for their work," she said in an e-mail.

Peter Foster, spokesman for the tribunal's United Nations' side, declined to discuss details of the allegations but said they were brought up after June 25 by "more than one" person.

He said the allegations had been submitted to a U.N. official in Cambodia and were being reviewed by the U.N.'s oversight and investigative services office in New York.

The UNDP statement said funding for the month of July was initially held up to await submission from the Cambodian side of a spending plan, "which is a standard procedure to preserve the integrity of the funds.

"Following this, new allegations of kickbacks arose," the UNDP said.

It did not specify how much money was withheld or provide details of the kickbacks.

"We want to ensure that donor funds are used for their intended purpose," it said. "Our aim is to move forward with the work of the tribunal, without sacrificing the integrity of the funds supporting it."

It is the second time the tribunal has faced a graft scandal.

In 2007, allegations arose that Cambodian tribunal staff had paid kickbacks in exchange for their jobs. The tribunal's Cambodian side dismissed the allegations as unsubstantiated.

Sides to Resume Temple Talks: Hun Sen

Soldiers and monks lean against a rusty gun emplacement near Preah Vihear temple.

By Heng Reaksmey, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Cambodia and Thailand plan to hold bilateral talks Aug. 18 to discuss the continued military stand-off at Preah Vihear temple, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday.

In a three-hour public speech, his first since the national election, Hun Sen said Cambodians were "lucky" to have him as prime minister in the crisis. Another prime minister would have led to the country to war, he said.

Hun Sen warned Cambodians not to discriminate against Thai products over the border feud, saying instead the countries were working together to "narrow" the problems and "expand" the relationship.

The border row, which began July 15, sparked latent nationalism on both sides, and following a build-up of troops a pamphlet circulated in Cambodian markets calling for a boycott on Thai goods.

Similar nationalist fervor in 2003 led to the burning of the Thai Embassy and the sacking of many Thai businesses in Phnom Penh.

However, officials say the situation on the border has remained calm, with soldiers often mingling together, despite fortified positions and the deployment of artillery, rockets and armored personnel carriers.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Aug. 18 talks would be held at a resort in Thailand.
Thailand has promised to remove troops from the conflict area next week, spokesman Sin Buntheoun said.

Trial Judges Prepare for Duch Atrocity Case

By Mean Veasna, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (931 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (931 KB) - Listen (MP3)

International jurists for the Trial Chamber of the Khmer Rouge tribunal have joined their Cambodian counterparts in anticipation of the trial of Duch, whose pre-trial preparations will be completed soon, a tribunal spokesman said Wednesday.

The case of the infamous chief of the Tuol Sleng torture center, who is charged crimes against humanity, will be the first tried of five jailed former leaders of the regime. More than 16,000 Cambodians were tortured and sent to the deaths at the center.

His trial is expected to begin in September or October.

Both French and New Zealand trial judges began working with their Cambodian colleagues last week, and the trial chambers have been equipped and prepared, tribunal spokesman Reach Sambath said.

"The courtroom, the seats for participation of victims, are ready," he said. "And the trial judges have already prepared themselves. The famous judge Sylvia Cartwright, a New Zealand national, arrived this Monday."

Co-investigating judge Marcel Lemonde said the proceedings against Duch were entering the period of closure and would be filed soon to the First Trial Chamber.

A source close to the tribunal said Wednesday the co-investigation judges will likely complete the closing order early this week or late next week, and the First Trial Chamber will hold a meeting to decide the set the date for Duch, around Sept. 15.

"We don't see any obstacles regarding the trial of Duch," Adhoc tribunal monitor Hisham Mousar said.

Duch was held by Cambodian military courts from May 1999 until he was handed to the tribunal last year.

Keat Bophal, head of the tribunal's Victims Unit, said Duch is facing 66 civil complaints.

Post-Election Evictions, Violence Ensue

By Chiep Mony, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (1.05 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (1.05 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Less than two weeks after the conclusion of national elections, human rights workers and political parties are reporting new land displacement and continued threats and violence against activists.

Stung Treng residents and rights groups said only four days after the election, about 40 soldiers, many of them armed, began trying to evict 19 families from their homes on more than 2 hectares of land in Steng Treng provincial town, to be relocated in rural areas.

Residents say the dispute, with soldiers from Military Region 1, began in July 2005, but attempts to have it settled with the Ministry of Defense failed.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Party said in statement Wednesday activists had been mistreated following the election. One activist was beaten unconscious, and others were threatened with eviction from their villages following last month's national election, the party said.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Son Chhay said Wednesday an SRP Kampong Chhnang candidate, Khy Vandeth, received a death threat and local Cambodian People's Party authorities had threatened not to resolve problems for SRP supporters in the wake of the election.

NEC Rules in Favor of Two Parties

By Seng Ratana, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (656 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (656 KB) - Listen (MP3)

The Norodom Ranariddh Party in Battambang province and Sam Rainsy Party in Kampong Thom province each won cases in a hearing by the National Election Committee Wednesday.

The NEC ruled that five people who had knocked down SRP signs in Kampong Thom will be ineligible to vote for the next five years.

The NEC ruled that portraits hung in front of an NRP headquarters were not a violation of election law.

The NEC received 44 complaints during the election campaign and 24 on Election Day.

No Compensation Planned for Derailment

By Chun Sakada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (1.06 MB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 06 August 2008 (1.06 MB) - Listen (MP3)

Families whose houses were smashed in a Phnom Penh train derailment last month will not be compensated for their loss, a top railway officials said Wednesday.

The homes had been built illegally along the tracks, and the damage was not significant, said Sokhom Pheakavoan Muny, general director of Cambodian Royal Railways.

"The derailment was not a big damage to the house and property of the people," he said. "We have no policy for compensation, because the people's settlement is illegal, built on land belonging to the state railway."

Such compensation would encourage wrongdoing, he said.

Victims estimate damage to the four destroyed homes reached up to $8,000.

"We went to protest before the commune official about compensation three times a week," said Savath Savorn, who was among the families to have her property destroyed in the July 5 derailment, said. "But the result was nothing. Now we must struggle for compensation."

A commune official said a railway working group and local authorities would meet to discuss "humanitarian assistance issues" one more time.

Thais Withdraw From One Temple: Military

By Sok Khemara, VOA Khmer
Original report from Washington
06 August 2008

Thai troops have withdrawn from one temple in the Ta Moan temple complex in Oddar Meanchey province, Cambodia's defense minister said late Tuesday.

The Thai soldiers had occupied Ta Moan Thom temple, situated on the border of Oddar Meanchey province, west of Preah Vihear temple, where a military standoff continued.

The soldiers had pulled back to their "original place" near Ta Moan Thom, which is one of three temples in a complex that is disputed by both sides, Defense Minister Gen. Tea Bahn said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan confirmed Tuesday the Thais had withdrawn.

Officials said last weekend about 100 Thai soldiers had fortified Ta Moan Thom, and that Thailand intended to apply for Unesco World Heritage protection status for the temple.

The inclusion of Preah Vihear temple, where thousands of soldiers on both sides are now entrenched, on the World Heritage list, prompted the recent standoff there.

No Cash for Allegation: Hun Sen Nephew

By Taing Sarada, VOA Khmer
Original report from Phnom Penh
06 August 2008

Khmer audio aired 05 August 2008 (999 KB) - Download (MP3)
Khmer audio aired 05 August 2008 (999 KB) - Listen (MP3)

The nephew of Prime Minister Hun Sen accused of ordering the assault of an opposition lawmaker said Tuesday he would not pay compensation outside of court.

The nephew, Hun To, said he had been contacted by Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Noun Vuthy through an intermediary and asked for $3,000 in compensation for an alleged assault in Kandal province.

"Why should I give him if I have done nothing wrong?" Hun To told VOA Khmer.

Noun Vuthy denied asking for any money, saying he had been joking with an SRP bodyguard named Long Ry.

Noun Vuthy has filed a complaint in Kandal provincial court alleging Hun To ordered his bodyguards to beat him as they were both leaving a ferry in the province.

Contacted this week, Long Ry said Noun Vuthy actually wanted $20,000 in compensation.
"But Hun To's side does not want to have a solution with compensation," he said.

Thai Troops Withdrawn from Ta Moan Thom Temple

AKP Phnom Penh, August 6, 2008

Thailand withdrew Tuesday its troops from Ta Moan Thom Temple, located in the Cambodian province of Oddar Meanchey, about 470 km to the northwest of the capital city of Phnom Penh.

This withdrawal was made following a meeting between Oddar Meanchey Deputy Governor San Wanna, and Kanok Netrakawesana, commander of Thailand's Suranaree Task Force in the Thai province of Surin.

About 70 Thai soldiers were deployed to the 13th-century Ta Moan Thom Temple since July 27.

According to Chinese News Agency Xinhua, Thai Cabinet agreed in principle on August 5 to reduce its total number of soldiers at the disputed zone near Preah Vihear Temple to ease the tension between the two neighbouring kingdoms.

The officials of the two countries are expected to meet in the third week of this month in the Thai province of Hua Hin.

On July 28, in a meeting at the Cambodian province of Siem Reap, both sides agreed to consider the withdrawal of their troops from the disputed zone. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has recently declared that there was no problem for Cambodia and the country was waiting for Thailand’s decision over the troops’ withdrawal from the area, adjacent to the Preah Vihear Temple.

(By Ms SOKMOM Nimul)

Kuwaiti PM Concludes Visit in Cambodia

Phnom Penh, August 6, 2008

AKP --Kuwait’s Prime Minister Prince Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber-Al-Sabah, left here Tuesday upon concluding his three-day official visit in Cambodia.

He was seen off at Phnom Penh International Airport by Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, government high-ranking officials as well as representatives of foreign embassies accredited to Cambodia.

While in the Kingdom, the Kuwaiti delegation was received on August 4 by Acting Head of State Samdech Akka Moha Thamma Pothisal Chea Sim, and held talks with the Cambodian Premier Samdech Techo Hun Sen.

Five bilateral cooperation agreements between the two countries in the fields of economy, trade, investment, foreign affairs and civil aviation, were signed.

Kuwait also wishes to open its embassy in Cambodia, establish direct flights between the two countries, help make Cambodia an “agricultural power", invest in agricultural sector, develop Cambodia’s oil industry, and promote cultural exchanges.

In reply, the Cambodian premier welcomed Kuwait’s will to cooperate with Cambodia. He also accepted the Kuwaiti prime minister’s invitation to visit his country.

(By Ms. SOKMOM Nimul)

Thai troops still at Ta Muen Thom, general says

By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
The Nation
Wed, August 6, 2008

Thai troops remain at the disputed border area near Ta Muen Thom temple, despite a claim by a senior Cambodian official they had withdrawn.

"We are stationed at Prasart Ta Muen Thom to protect our sovereignty as usual," said Major Gen Kanok Netrakavaesana, commander of the Suranaree Task Force, who oversees the area. He spoke by phone from Surin late yesterday.

Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh told reporters in Phnom Penh earlier that both sides agreed to withdraw troops from the temple after a brief talks involving commanders on the ground.

"But we have already resolved the problem with each other. It is okay now. All (Cambodian and Thai) troops withdrew to their original bases," he was quoted saying.

Tea Banh, however, maintained that Ta Muen Thom belonged to Cambodia.

Kanok said the Cambodian minister had misunderstood the situation. Officials from both sides met on Tuesday at the "coordinating point" at the border and later returned to the temple, as usual, without any agreement.

"The situation is calm, nothing changes and we are where we are," the Thai commander said.

Attention has turned to a second disputed temple area, following the military standoff near Preah Vihear temple, some 120 kilometres away. The latest row surrounds Khmer ruins at Ta Muen Thom.

Cambodia has alleged that Thailand sent some 70 troops to the temple and barring Cambodian soldiers from entering. Cambodia then massed troops in the area nearby. Phnom Penh has called on Thailand to pull its troops out.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharit Charungvat said that Ta Muen temples was on Thai soil and that Thai troops had been stationed there for years.

Cambodia "might misunderstand" the location of the temple, he said, because the old boundary mark demarcated a century ago had disappeared.

Thailand lodged an official protest in March this year after Cambodia listed Ta Muen one of its sites, Tharit said.

The new dispute could be settled by a bilateral mechanism such as the Joint Border Committee, he said.

Cambodian Olympians quietly depart for Beijing

M&G Olympics 2008 News
Aug 6, 2008

Phnom Penh - Cambodia's handful of Olympians departed for Beijing Wednesday with no fanfare, few hopes, but lots of Olympic spirit and hopes of seeing some of the world for the first time.

Cambodia is fielding two swimmers, a sprinter and a marathon runner, none of whom claim hopes of medals, but all of whom are proud to represent Cambodia, which is duly proud of them.
It has been a mixed journey for the four athletes.

For instance marathon runner Hem Bunting, 23, who changed from football to running only five years ago because his mother thought football was too dangerous, nearly boycotted the games last month when he found himself too broke to buy shoes.

National Olympic Committee President and Tourism Minister Thong Khon dipped into his own pocket to keep Bunting on track.

At least one Cambodian swimmer who dropped out before she could be ranked gave the reason for her retirement as the poor quality of the water in the nation's threadbare Olympic Stadium swimming pool in the capital, which her mother said gave her hives.

Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Zhang Jinfeng welcomed the team off from Phnom Penh International Airport Wednesday, wishing them luck, but otherwise, their subdued departure went almost unnoticed.

Tensions over second temple ease in Cambodia

Radio Australia

Cambodia and Thailand say tensions over a second disputed Khmer ruin on their joint border has been resolved and troops have returned to their stations.

The Ta Muen Thom ruins are about 130 kilometres west of the better known Preah Vihear temple and are currently under Thai control.

On Sunday Cambodian officials said Thai soldiers had prevented their troops from entering the temple compound for religious worship, while Thailand's military chief demanded that Cambodia withdraw its forces from near the area.

Tensions between the neighbours flared last month when the Preah Vihear temple was listed as a UN heritage site, angering nationalists in Thailand.

Thailand's cabinet has agreed in principle to pull back some troops from near the Preah Vihear temple, although no timescale has been set.

American, Frenchman in child sex cases in Cambodia

The Standard
(08-06 18:23)

Cambodia sentenced an American man to more than two years in prison for committing indecent acts against minors, and has arrested a Frenchman accused of abusing boys, officials said.

The American, Thomas Wayne Rapanos, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after being convicted of committing indecent acts against minors, said judge Din Sivuthy.

Rapanos, 55, was arrested in March after police raided a guesthouse and found a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl and a 16-year-old Cambodian girl in his room.

Frenchman Michel Roger Blanchard was arrested on Monday for sexually abusing four Cambodian boys aged between eight and 18.